W&N Series 7, Citadel & Raphael 8404 Brushes: A Comparison

Here are the weapons in my arsenal, laid out for inspection. These brushes are the ones that I use for my painting, not for the dirty work like dry-brushing or varnishing.

W&N Series 7, Citadel & Raphael 8404 Brushes: A Comparison reviewThe top two are Winsor & Newton Series 7 Miniature 00 and then #1. The next three are from Games Workshop: Standard, Large and Wash. The final three are my newest Raphael 8404's 1, 0 and 00. The GW brushes are used for my tabletop quality figures and those that will be dipped. the Series 7 and Raphael brushes are for my showcase quality figures.

As you can see, each one has a different shape as well as different hair characteristics. The GW brush hairs are much coarser. Their tips are not nearly as fine either. On the other hand, the Series 7 and Raphael brush bristles are made of a much finer hair. My first quality brushes were the Series 7s and they took my painting to a new level. I had a lot more control with my paint and it showed in my work. However, one thing that I didn't like about them was that they would sometimes dry out too quickly while I was doing detail work, especially around the eyes. This is due to the shorter hairs on the brush.

With the Raphael brushes my prayers were answered. Here is a brush with the point and quality of a Series 7, with a reservoir body up to three times the volume! The paint stays wet longer and allows me more time to get that spot of color right where I want it. I prefer the Raphaels above all others.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite brand of brush? Do you feel that fancy brushes are a waste of money, or do you find that a quality brush elevates your painting?


  1. I stopped using GW brushes (had moved to them when my local model RR shop had closed its doors) when they stopped making the red brushes. From that time on I seemed unable to find GW brushes that did have a fine point and worse of all... the hairs seemed to spread apart once they came in contact with either water or paint.

    These days I use Creative Models Red Sable brushes. Great quality,they last long and if bought in the four brush packs quiete reasonbly priced.

  2. DHC - I find that the Games Workshop brushes are fine for general work like putting paint onto large areas, basecoating and whatnot. They are easily available locally for me in San Diego at one of two game stores. I do miss the GW red brushes. They were pretty good.

    I like the look of those Creative Model brushes! They seem pretty inexpensive. They seem similar in size/shape to the Series 7s. Do they hold water/paint well? I have never seen them before at Game Towne, Game Empire or Brookhurst Hobbies. I don't know if they will replace my Raphael 8404s, but I will keep my eyes open for them.

    Thanks for the tip, and thanks for reading! - Jeff

  3. Every time I see a brush with an orange tip at the bottom, I think "that is my brush!" I started using a Raphael about a year ago and in my stack of brushes, I almost always grab that one. I'm following and I'll have to come back tomorrow.

    Great blog by the way!

    1. Monty - Thanks for the kudos on the blog. You have excellent taste in brushes! The Raphael 8404s are amazing. They really do a great job with the detail work.

      I use GW and others to do the dirty work... but when it comes to eyes, lacework, faces and anything that requires a bit of finesse I reach for the Raphaels. - Jeff

  4. Found this older post by searching. However, I must say, you were comparing the paint held by a Series 7 Miniature brush, and that of a standard Raphael brush? You do know Winsor and Newton sells the standard size don't you? Of course the miniature does not hold as much paint, it was designed with shorter hair (ie: less paint capacity). Compare apples to apples, with the standard W&N Series 7.

    1. Unknown - Thanks for reading and commenting! I will take you to task, however, regarding the Raphael v. W&N comparison. I have used W&N7 standard sized brushes for both miniature and illustration work.

      Back in the day, a W&N Series 7 brush was the best, but as time went by, the quality started to drop. You'd get a bad brush here and there and the life of the brush seemed to diminish. Others have noticed this trend as well. That was the whole reason that I began my search for an alternative.

      The Raphael has been an amazing, superior replacement. Every brush that I have ordered (from different sources) has been perfect. I have also yet to wear one out; their points are just as fresh and springy as the day that I purchased them.

      The regular Series 7 doesn't hold its point like the Miniature Series 7. If it did, there would be little reason to purchase the Miniature version. I was comparing the best tool from both companies for painting miniatures. The Raphael 8404 won at my desk, hands down.

      But, I know that there are a lot of W&N fans out there, and that is okay. This is just one man's opinion. Many people have never heard of the 8404s and I thought that I'd share my findings.

      Best of luck in your painting, and thanks again for the comment.

      - Jeff


Post a Comment